Top 5 Fun Family Events in Sacramento over Labor Day Weekend

This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. Where did the time go?  It seems like we were all just at the California State Fair and cooling off at Sunsplash or Raging Waters.
Well, if you aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to hot days and warm nights, then we have several events going on around town to keep you enjoying the last days of summer here in  Sacramento. Take a look at this list of my top 5 family fun events you won’t want to miss Labor Day weekend:

1.       53rd Annual Sacramento Greek Festival at the convention center.  Friday through Sunday, enjoy live music, dancing and lessons, cooking demonstrations, great food and entertainment.   There will also be a loukoumaes eating contest!  This is always a fun event for the entire family.

2.      Old Sacramento’s annual Gold Rush days.  Friday through Monday, visit Old Sacramento as they transform into a scene straight of the 1800s. Live entertainment, costumed performers and everyday folk will bring history to life during this three-day event.   Activities for the whole family include pony and carriage rides, live music and dancing, cannons, gun tales and more! And don’t forget to come in costume as you enjoy being transformed back to the gold rush days.

Gold Rush Days

3.      Catch one of the final River Cats  baseball games. The Cats play the Fresno Grizzlies all weekend long at Raley Field in West Sacramento (within walking distance of Gold Rush Days in Old Sacramento.) Games begin at 7:05 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 5:05 pm on Sunday, and 1:05 pm on Monday, Labor Day. Don’t forget to stick around for the after-game fireworks shows on Friday and Saturday nights.

Raley Field

4.      The 5th annual Rhythm and Blues Festival on Saturday, September 3 from 11am-7pm at Miller Park in Sacramento.   Enjoy live music from talented R&B and gospel singers.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

5.      Chalk it up!  I absolutely love taking my kids to this fun family event.  Full of great artists, music, hands on demonstrations (for the kids) and just a great vibe.   Friday through Monday, Freeport Park in downtown Sacramento transforms into its own art studio.  Some of the most talented artists in the area come out and purchase a square to “chalk it up” on.   If you have kids who love art  or who just like to get messy with chalk, this is a great event to attend. 

Chalk It Up Festival

I hope this list gives you an idea of what’s happening around town.   Whether you choose to stay close to home and BBQ, or enjoy one of these family friendly events- we hope you have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend.

By Heather Crivellone

 

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Win Tickets: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Out of this World

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey bring their newest circus production to Sacramento Sept. 15-18, 2016 as the last ticketed tour to perform at Sleep Train Arena. And this doesn’t look to be your mother’s circus. While you’ll see traditional circus performers such as acrobats, clowns and ferocious animals, Out of this World will provide so much more. The production will send its performers and audience members into the future for a magical, intergalactic space quest. Here’s the plot:

“The story begins with magical circus Starseeker Paulo, who travels the universe with a Magic Telescope in search of the greatest and most talented circus stars. Paulo discovers two hopeful young stars, Johnathan and Davis. After an audition, the Magic Telescope selects Johnathan as a future Ringmaster. Davis is then recruited by Tatiana, Queen of the Circus of Fire, to join her on her evil quest for intergalactic circus domination.

After searching the galaxy far and wide, Starseeker Paulo and Ringmaster Johnathan have all of the stars needed for their circus. The two are ready to bring The Greatest Show On Earth® back to Earth, when Queen Tatiana captures their circus stars and hides them on distant planets across the galaxy to ensure that her own Circus of Fire can rise unchallenged. Paulo and Johnathan’s mission to retrieve their circus stars from across the galaxy begins!”

Sounds like a can’t-miss adventure, right? Well, we’ve got four tickets to the opening night performance to give away to one lucky reader.  If you would like a chance to win tickets to this exciting new show, take a look at this video about the show and answer the following question:

Who is jumping rope in the video?

 Leave your answer in the comment section below by 5:00 pm on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. A winner will be selected via random drawing on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. Good luck!

What: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Out of this World

When: Sept. 15-18, 2016

Where: Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena

Get your tickets here.

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You Don’t Need to Jump Out of an Airplane to Experience Skydiving in Sacramento

 

Have you ever imagined jumping out of an airplane and flying through the air?  Do you have children who are thrill seekers and are searching for the next big “dare”?  Do you know someone that has skydiving on their bucket list, but just can’t take that leap?   If so, then, check out iFLy in Roseville – they make the dream of flight a reality by giving customers “wings” in a safe and reliable environment.

iFly opened its doors this past spring, and it’s all people can talk about!  The ability to free fall in a safe environment and have the experience of skydiving, without actually stepping into an airplane- it’s a genius invention for those thrill seekers who just aren’t ready to make that final plunge.

The idea behind iFly is simulating the true free fall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel, giving their customers the indoor skydiving experience. Pretty much anyone can enjoy the iFly experience – the youngest of flyers can enjoy the free fall experience, as long as they are in good health and can follow instructions. Recently, a friend of mine took her daughter for her ninth birthday- and she loved the experience.

When they arrived for their flight time, they had to be at the facility 60 minutes early for training.  Training includes an instructional video, getting suited up into a safe flight suit, goggles and helmet.  They were able to watch the instructor’s complete aerial stunts and maneuvers and have the full skydiving experience. Once the flyers were suited up, trained and ready, they went into an outside chamber to the wind tunnel, where they were chosen individually to step into the chamber.   Within just a couple of minutes, they were flying in the chamber where they learned to use their bodies as flying devices at over 100 mph! The girls each took their turns and loved every minute of it.

Ifly is an experience you have to actually see to believe.   The cost for indoor skydiving starts at $60.  Flight packages vary in cost based upon the number of flyers in your group; whether you have flown before and how much time you want to fly. My friend purchased a package for $140 and that was for two flyers for approximately 4 minutes of flying experience.   That seems like a lot, but for the one on one training, the reassuring and knowledgeable staff and to not have to watch my child actually jump from an airplane to get her thrills…. I’m all for this cost!

iFly is located at 118 Harding Blvd. in Roseville, approximately 25 minutes from downtown Sacramento.  Flying hours are Sunday- Friday 9am-10pm, Saturday 8am- 11pm. Call them at 916-836-4359 for questions and to book a flight.

I have no desire to jump from an airplane and I actually get sick when I think about heights.  This is not an activity for me, but my daughter is a daredevil through and through.  She has been asking to check this place out since they started construction on the facility, so I’m pretty sure we will be making a visit to iFly in the near future.

By Heather Crivellone

 

Wild Animals and Ice Cream at the Sacramento Zoo this Saturday Evening

Sacramento Zoo

Kids are back to school… it’s time to celebrate!   Take the family out to the Sacramento Zoo this Saturday, August 20 for their annual Ice Cream Safari.  From 4 to 8 pm, indulge in all-you-can-eat Baskin Robbins Ice Cream.   Cones, sundaes, floats and wash it all down with all the Coca-Cola you can handle….  a kids dream come true!

Along with the ice cream, there will be live entertainment, kids’ activities, face painting and more family fun.

General price tickets are $15 for children ages 2-11 and $20 for adults. Save a few dollars and purchase your tickets in advance on their website or at the zoo. Proceeds of the fundraiser will go towards general maintenance and animal care at the Sacramento Zoo.
So instead of sitting around the house during these hot “dog-days” of summer,  take the family out to the Sacramento Zoo and cool off with some ice-cold sweet treats.   Check out and learn about the wild animals and watch your own little animals have a blast at the zoo!

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Our Favorite Sacramento Summer Activities in Pictures

It’s hard to believe that it’s the beginning of August and we are already talking about kids going back to school here in Sacramento. Luckily, we’ve had a great summer vacation…we hope you have, too! Here’s a few of our favorite activities and events this summer. In pictures. Enjoy!

The California State Fair at Cal Expo:

July 2015 045Fairytale Town’s Midsummer Night’s Midsummer Night’s Dream & Ice Cream Social:

FTT Midsummer Night Event 13Water fun at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center:

Aquatic Center2Wizard World’s Comic Con at the Sacramento Convention Center:

Comic ConThe USA Track & Field Junior Olympics at Sac State:

USATF Junior Olympics 2016 007A walk through the World Peace Rose Garden in Capitol Park:

World Peace Rose GardenA River Cats baseball game at Raley Field:

River Cats 2A relaxing Sacramento River cruise aboard the Hornblower in Old Sacramento:

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Celebrate National S’mores Day while Enjoying the Great Outdoors

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National S’mores Day is just around the corner – Wednesday, August 10. How are you planning on celebrating?

Did you know that the first official s’mores recipe was published in the Girl Scout Handbook in 1927? Over the years, the recipe was passed from camper to camper and eventually became the most famous fireside dessert.  We have used plain, chocolate, coconut and even strawberry marshmallows to make the gooey treat… it’s definitely a summertime staple in our house! Ever wondered why it is called a s’more? Because you’ll always want “some more” of this decadent sweet!

There are several recipes for smore’s that you can make in your own kitchen or backyard, but I prefer to make mine over a campfire.   Camping season is here and if you haven’t planned a trip for your family this summer, you still have time to sneak in a trip before the kids go back to school. Our family loves to camp, and luckily we live in an area that is surrounded by so many opportunities to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Here are a few of our family favorites that are within a couple of hours from Sacramento and some “tips and tools” to help make your camping experience more enjoyable.

Sly Park Camping (25)Sly Park– 4771 Sly Park Rd, Pollock Pines. Just up Hwy 50, past Apple Hill, is one of our favorite campgrounds.  With beautiful views of Jenkinson Lake, plenty of hiking trails and our kids love to swim and play at the beach – it’s the best way to enjoy nature while being so close to the city (it’s only about a 45 minute drive from Sacramento). Amenities include:  boating, fishing, hiking, general store close by, plenty of picnic tables, vault toilets (unfortunately, it’s not “glamping” and they don’t have flushing toilets but, it is camping after all).

Collins Lake- 7350 Collins Lake Rd, Browns Valley. This resort is a family favorite for many Sacramento residents.  Located in the Gold Country Foothills just over an hour East of Sacramento, this campground offers a wide variety of family activities. Amenities include:  marina and boat rentals, fishing (they are known for their “big bass and trophy trout”, ice cream shop and espresso shop, children’s playground, swimming beach, general store, laundry, showers and flushing toilets.  Yes, ladies. They do have showers and flushing toilets!  This is my kind of camping. The only downside to Collins Lake campground is that it can be crowded and on holiday weekends, so you should reserve sites way in advance.

Lake Berryessa– Hwy 128, Napa Only about an hour drive from Sacramento, Lake Berryessa is our families “go to”. We love the proximity to Sacramento and the lake (when it’s full), is absolutely beautiful and perfect for a day out on the boat. They have several campgrounds around the lake with amenities including:  hiking, children’s playgrounds, boating, fishing, and vault toilets (sorry ladies).

Fallen Leaf Lake– 2165 Fallen Leaf Rd, South Lake Tahoe. This campground is a little bit further from Sacramento, but being “deep in the woods” as my daughter would say, gives you a bit more of the “camping feel”.  They have bear lockers to store your food, and if you are lucky enough to leave your scraps behind, you may just have a visitor in the middle of the night!  The seclusion makes you really enjoy nature rather than just “hopping off the freeway”.

Amenities include:  general store, showers, flushing toilets (Hooray for flushing toilets!), and if you wanting more of a “Glamping” experience- they rent Yurts that have electric heather and lamps, futons and even bunk beds!

Bothe State Park– 3801 St. Helena Hwy, Calistoga Camping in Napa… a wine lovers dream!  Not only do they have regular tent campsites, but they also have Yurts for those of us who would rather not set up a tent and do some “glamping” instead. Amenities include:  showers, flushing toilets, yurts, swimming pool, hiking and biking. The Bale Grist Mill State park is a small hike away and is a very educational and fun experience for the family.

Here are 4 of my favorite camping tips to help make the experience more enjoyable:

  1. Freeze a gallon water jug before you go and then use this block of ice to help keep food cold during your trip.  As it melts, you will have fresh water to drink.
  2. Pre make and freeze breakfast burritos and/or regular burritos for easy meals.  By freezing them ahead of time, they will stay transport easier and will help to keep other food cold.   Just toss on grill and eat – no need for cleaning dishes or pans!
  3. Tic Tac Containers can be used for holding spices you will need while cooking, without the large bulky containers.
  4. Instant Coffee!  Starbucks VIA’s are always a special treat while camping – no need to wait for the coffee to brew and clean out the coffee grinds, just pour and enjoy!

These are just some suggestions of the many different areas to choose from.  Camping is a great family activity and with some preparation ahead of time, you can enjoy a relaxing weekend away in nature while creating lifelong family memories. And most importantly, don’t forget the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers to make the delicious gooey, sticky treat…it’s a camping requirement to enjoy with the family.

By Heather Crivellone